SENEGAL-MUSIC / REPORT / The ”Dieuf Dieul de Thiès” returns to the stage to conquer the European public next March – Senegalese press agency

By Alioune Diouf

Thiès, May 8 (APS) – The “Dieuf Dieul” orchestra of Thiès, after a short existence of four years (1979 to 1983), made its comeback, thanks to the release, on January 19 last, from his first eponymous album, a mixture of an old record dusted off and new songs, with which he intends to conquer the European public, during an international tour planned for March 2025.

“We no longer even thought about the +Dieu Dieul+, until this Greek, Adamantios, discovered this reel, which then fell into the hands of Sylvain Dartoy [directeur de la production du groupe] of the company +Wax Booking+”, says Mamadou Bassirou Sarr, in an interview given to APS at his home in the Nguinth district.

Bass Sarr, his artist name, notes that the new partner, who runs a touring and show production agency, “knew how to do what was necessary with a lot of dynamism, to expedite things”. “We were able to reunite the rest of the troop, who were there and who were still able-bodied,” he continues.

Created in 1979, the ”Dieuf Dieul” which means ”We reap what we sow. in Wolof, from Thiès is the result of a fusion between dissidents from the group ”Ouza et ses Ouzettes” and young novice Thiés singers, joined by another artist from the South of the country.

One of them, Bass Sarr in this case, left school for rehearsals with his friends Ernest and Abdoulaye Camara, in the Carrière district.

It is certainly one of the last groups still active from the end of the 70s from this great era of African amplified orchestras with success in Senegal and the Gambia.

The orchestra disbanded in 1983, after its only record, a Nagra recording made by Moussa Diallo, a nightclub owner, very well known to music lovers of the time, and who lived in the Carrière district, says Mamadou Bassirou. Sarr, a founding member of the group.

The artists did not have time to exploit this reel, which was discovered in 2014, by a Greek DJ named Adamantios Kafetzis, “looking for rare music” in Senegal and the Gambia.

The family of the late Moussa Diallo required the agreement of the members of the group still alive, to transfer the record in question.

“He spoke with the family [de Moussa Diallo] and found me in Dakar where I was playing, to tell me about this record that he had discovered, explaining to me that the family did not want to give it to him without the agreement of the musicians who were the authors,” a- he said.

Bass Sarr, who found himself in the group ”Africando” [un groupe de salsa né en 1993 de la rencontre de deux mélomanes, le producteur sénégalais Ibrahima Sylla et le Malien Boncana Maïga]then adhered to the idea, while calling on Pape Seck, the “big brother” of the group at the time.

A “compromise” was then found so that the Greek would take these old tapes with him to go and retype them in Europe. “That’s how the first album of “Dieuf Dieul” came,” continues the sixty-year-old singer.

Forty years later, the Thiés group saw its production engraved for posterity.

The album was not finished, but “good promotion” allowed the “Dieuf Dieul new look” to tour with it, from 2016 to 2018. A momentum which was broken by Covid-19, says -he.

In 2018, a Frenchman named Sylvain Dartoy, boss of the production agency “L’Afrique dans les yeux”, now “Wax Booking”, took things in hand in relation to the French Cultural Center of Saint-Louis .

The group was in creative residency in the 300-year-old city throughout the month of December 2018, to make “the first nickel album, finished, for the +Dieuf Dieul+ of Thiès”, with the support of a team of French technicians who traveled from France to make the recordings.

After a month, they gave a concert at the French Institute of Saint-Louis as part of the 19e edition of the ”Africa fête Senegal” festival and completed an album of 12 tracks.

“We are preparing two to three songs to put in there, but otherwise everything is finished and we are even planning to do an international tour again in March 2025 throughout Europe,” announces the artist. “We are really in all the charts, whether in London, in the United States, in Europe particularly. The record has been out since January and we are promoting it.”

“The orchestra has reorganized itself, we have done so that currently, we are in full competition and in good shape,” rejoices Bass Sarr.

“Pope Seck, our big brother, who was a conductor and guitarist, has died, as has our Mandingo singer. We were able to find replacements to continue the journey,” he says.

The ”Dieuf Dieul” relies today on a group of seven members, compared to eight previously, to rebuild a new musical life. Five of them are in Senegal and the other two are established in Europe.

On the Senegalese side, he hopes to be able to count on a “younger ear”, given that “all the great music lovers who had known this orchestra no longer go out or even listen to the music”.

The “Afro-Mandingo mbalax” that the group had worked on especially during its stay in Casamance, particularly in Kolda and Ziguinchor, was music “ahead of its time”, he explains.

Bass Sarr believes that this rhythm, product of a mix between the sounds of Cayor and Basse Casamance, “was not very understood by many Senegalese”, even if it has “returned” today and “is currently being done his end of the road”.

“There were singers from various backgrounds, like me who was from Thiéssois, Cayorien, Lassana Camara who we had picked up along the way in Casamance and who sang Mandingo (socé).”

The touch of Pape Seck who had worked with Ouza, but especially with ”Guélawar Jazz” in Gambia, made it a “multidimensional music of the sub-region”.

Regarding copyright, he reassures that with the new producer, Sylvain Dartoy, “everything is clear and clear, the papers are signed and everything is going well”. “A few weeks ago he called me to talk to me about royalties,” he continues.

On this subject, Bassirou Sarr is categorical. “We currently find our account there, [et] we hope it gets better,” he says, with a broad smile.

ADI/FKS/ASG

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